December 14, 2017
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Despite low temps, New Yorkers stood in line for hours to vote

By Adrián Bono, Special Correspondent in New York.

On a historic day, and still reeling from the devastation left by hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers headed to the polls in what analysts predict will be a close presidential election and a recount that may extend into the early hours of the morning.

It was an extremely cold afternoon, with temperatures reaching one degree in some areas of the city. The locals complain about the freezing winds and how odd it is for a cold front to arrive so early, but when it comes to voting they warn that it is barely a disincentive for them.

Hundreds could be seen standing in line outside schools and gymnasiums from the Lower Manhattan area to the Upper West Side. Since 6 AM, millions of voters in the area have had to endure those long lines under an inclement weather, but they refuse to give up their vote.

“I don’t trust Romney, he changes his position every two weeks,” a man carrying a “Re-elect Obama” sign says as he traverses Times Square. “I have a good feeling Obama will be reelected.”

Those in New Jersey and New York who were displaced of their homes by the storm were given a chance to vote via provisional ballots. New York state governor Andrew Cuomo told hurricane Sandy victims that “just because they were displaced it doesn’t mean they should be disenfranchised.”  

Governments from both states have shown concern for those who would not be able to vote today, and have set up phone lines and a service that helps voters find their polling station via text message with their cell phones.

New Jersey also came up with a plan to make the voting process easier for them by letting them vote via fax or email, even though some expressed concern for this measure since those emails are not safe from hackers or fraud.

In some of the areas of New York affected by the storm, many were confused or frustrated by the malfunctioning of several vote scanning machines which failed at reading the ballots and forced voters to fill out paper ballots, which obviously slowed the lines. It is estimated that there are still 350,000 homes without power in the state.

Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged the problems and assured that some machines were delivered late to the polling stations or some didn’t even have enough fuel to power the generators that activated them.

In Queens and Staten Island, both of them hit hard by the storm, long lines could be seen outside makeshift polling stations that were as basic as a simple tent. In Manhattan, many were also standing in line in the East Village to enter a generator-powered polling station.

“There’s a lot at stake today. I hope everyone comes out and votes for Mitt Romney. The economy is tanking and we can’t afford for more years of Obama,” said Chuck Issa, a local resident who believes reelecting Obama “would be a disaster.”

“He had his time to make things better and he failed. It’s time to try something different.”

However, far from being a red state, the progressive crowds of New York have traditionally voted in favor of the Democratic Party, and it appears this time it will not be an exception despite the clear lack of enthusiasm among liberal voters disillusioned with Obama.

Social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and climate change are as important as the state of the economy for a majority of New Yorkers, and as the Republican Party keeps moving further to the right, it’s hard for the locals to support Mitt Romney.

In popular meeting points such as Times Square or the Rockefeller Center, the excitement amongst those present became increasingly palpable as time for the polls to close neared. , As the recount began, thousands gather edbefore the giant screens to follow the results minute by minute, as two signs on the front of the Rockefeller building tell them the amount of delegates that each candidate has grasped in real time.

The traditional ice skating rating has been transformed into a giant map of the US, in which each state will turn into either red or blue, depending on the candidate that wins.

“It’s like Christmas!” says Mona Ramírez from Brooklyn. “After the last few days we have had, a little celebration is good for us. I only hope Obama wins. That would be perfect” she concludes.

It is believed that due to the close numbers in the race, the results could not be announced until early in the morning.

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Tags:  New York  elections  US  Obama  Romney  voters  

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